With a diagnosis like schizophrenia, you feel
that it’s a sort of… It becomes, sort of a label, whereas it’s more of an experience.
But if people could understand what the experience is actually in reality, and also actually
help people deal with it every day, I think it would be less of a stigma. But also people
will be less frightened to talk to us if we’re unwell or whatever, or look out for each other
or whatever. I think if people knew what the symptoms of
psychosis were when they started to get those really strange ideas and thoughts, they’d
think, oh well. Like, you know, if you getting a cold you start to sneeze. Okay, so this
is psychosis. I better go and get help. And there wouldn’t be that fear.
So convincing when it’s in your own head. You just, however sort of silly it is, you
just… I mean, I was just convinced that I was telepathic. There were sort of, there
was some regional secret telepathic society giving me phone numbers and saying, Martin
you’re a powerful telepathic. And I was going to the phone box and phoning them up
and thinking, that’s strange, I must have got that wrong. Do you think the television…? Did you have a thing with the television, like you thought
the television was talking to you? I’ve had that, really strange. I remember
staying up all night listening to the radio. Just listening to it because it was just really
bizarre. The whole world had sort of shifted round and it was absolutely… And the stuff
that was coming out of there was really terrifying. But it was like being awake and dreaming at
the same time so that you’re wandering around in a sort of dream. But it sort of, it’s
like talking. All those voices and stuff. When I worked for the [inaudible] I was told
by my psychiatrist, Brian, its mistaken belief. Were you ever told that, mistaken belief?
When you have a belief which is not… Like a television taunts you or something. It’s
like that didn’t happen, you’re mistaken. It wasn’t real.
But it did actually happen to you. That’s the thing isn’t it? So when people are saying
it’s not real, well it is real to you at the time.
You know, at times when you might experience work periods of really being unwell and it
can be really, you know, you don’t want to go out and you don’t want to engage with
other people or speak to people. Because it’s like… But when you get through that, it’s
such a relief because you’re like, that was what it was.
I need time out, I need time out. I need to be by myself, I need to be locked away, no
Brian. I feel it’s beneficial to lock away but it’s not beneficial. You should be open
and socialise, come out of your shell. You should. It feels so right though to do that,
to close off. It feels so good you think, yes I need this. But then…
Yes, it is very easy to get isolated. But it’s important to have like sort of structure
to your day and your week. Things that you can do regularly, so going out and meeting
people, and keeping up a social life is very important. Even when you don’t feel like
it. That’s right, yes.
And I think there’s like two sides to treating schizophrenia. There’s the medication. I
go and see a psychiatrist. There’s also the talking side of it, talking therapies.
And I was very lucky to get referred to a cognitive behaviour therapy. Which I found
very useful in developing like, coping strategies, and learning to live with my illness, and
to manage my illness. And I used to be very paranoid, and so I’d be very worried even
just like walking down the streets or whatever. And I’d think the people were always talking
about me, that kind of thing. And the constant behaviour therapy really helped me to deal
with that. It’s actually really good that one. Because
it’s one of those things that, when I’ve had cognitive behavioural therapy, even when
I’m having my sort of psychosis, I can sort of talk myself out of it, or almost get insight
into why I’m feeling that way, so… A little while before the medication was right
for me, changed three or four times, Olanzapine, Risperdal, all sorts of medication. I’m
on good medication now so that’s good. And the side effects of the medication can
be really tough. Like with me, I’m a very athletic, sporty
person but it gave me like man boobs. I was body building at the time and it spoilt my
shape. I’ve got it under control now but that’s one of the things that I didn’t…
I really didn’t enjoy that. Its weird the different effects that drugs
have. Completely different effects on different people. Because the thing is, Brexpiprazole
that I was put on, because I got really fat on Olanzapine. And so they put me on this
but I just… That was just awful for me. I was terrified for about two months and my
psychiatrist had gone on leave. So that I was just in a bad place and put on Temazepam
so I just slept through it. I had the same thing with haloperidol. It
just sort of just made me weep the whole time, it was like…
Even me. Like, I was… Before I was on the clozapine I’m on now, I used to be in the
depo and I was like, I can’t keep getting these injections in my bottom.
No, it hurts. I want more support. I was going for my depo
right. Going home, sleeping for two weeks, get up again, depos. So it was depo, bed,
depo, bed, depo, bed. I thought, no I can’t live like this, this has got to stop. It kept
me very warm but it was like depo then bed, depo then bed. So I was like, ah no.
And sleeping the whole time, you know, if you’re asleep the whole time with medication,
you’re not seeing… You’re not getting out, you’re not seeing your friends, you
might not be actually having the same symptoms but you just… If you’re asleep all the
time, you know, what’s the point? I don’t like the term, someone is a schizophrenic.
I think that’s really offensive. I think, you know, I experience schizophrenia, you
know. Someone say, oh that… You know, poking you, poking their finger at you and just going,
that persons a schizophrenic. You know, what’s that about? You know.
Most people would, if you describe what hearing voices is like, most people would say they’ve
experienced something similar to that at one time or another in their life. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have… That they have the illness.
Yes. What was your experience with that?
Sometimes the bigger you are, it’s pretty normal what you’re going through.
But it’s a normal human experience. Lots of people get that experience and if it wasn’t
so frightening and if you knew what to expect a bit more…